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Photo Credit: Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.

An innovative, new initiative to reduce food waste launches in Philadelphia

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and the National Resources Defense Council partner on the “Food Saver Challenge.”

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On Friday, August 4, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia announced the official launch of the “Food Saver Challenge,” in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The “Food Saver Challenge” is an innovative new initiative to support local food businesses across Philadelphia in reducing food waste.

“We are excited to launch our ‘Food Saver Challenge’ in partnership with local businesses in Philadelphia,” said Devi Ramkissoon, Executive Director at SBN, in a statement. 

The six-month challenge will allow local food businesses — including restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and more — the opportunity to actively monitor and track their progress in reducing, repurposing, and donating food that would otherwise be wasted. 

Upon completion of the challenge, one business will be selected to receive a cash prize of $5,000 and recognition as SBN’s “Food Saver Champion” based on their ability to reduce their food waste and incorporate food saving practices into their business model. 

“By working closely with local food businesses, SBN is creating a collaborative platform that advances lasting and positive change in reducing food waste,” said Ramkissoon. 

According to statistics gathered in the City of Philadelphia’s Municipal Waste Management Plan, food waste makes up nearly 17% of Philadelphia’s waste stream. 

As part of the City’s Zero Waste initiatives, Philadelphia has the goal to divert 90% or more of the city’s waste away from the landfill by 2035. 

In connection to the prevalence of the food waste stream in Philadelphia, an estimated 250,000 local residents lack access to nutritious food to live a healthier life. 

SBN’s Good Saver Challenge seeks to address these issues and encourage local businesses to adopt sustainable practices and become leaders in reducing food waste. 

Participants of the “Food Saver Challenge” will have access to resources and support from ClearCOGS, a software company that uses technology to try to solve the waste issue facing most restaurants; composting services from Circle Compost and Bennett Compost; local food recovery and redistribution; and hunger-relief organizations; technical assistance from Drexel Food Lab; and resources to help implement effective strategies for waste reduction. 

The data used by the participants of this initiative can be used to identify areas for improvement and provide an opportunity to implement changes that lead to more sustainable practices. 

Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to share their results with the wider community and inspire others to take action and join the fight against food waste.

“Together, we can make a significant impact by promoting responsible food practices that not only benefit our environment, but also contribute to our community's well-being,” said Ramkissoon. 

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